The Director General (DG) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr. Eric Nkansah, has disclosed that a total of one hundred and twenty-one (121) schools in the Volta and Greater Accra regions have been affected by the Akosombo and Kpong dams spillage. Out of this number, one hundred and eight (108) of these schools are from the Volta Region alone.
According to him, even though the flood waters are receding, some of these schools are still being used as haven camps for the flood victims.
Dr. Eric Nkansah spoke to the media during his three-day working visit to the Volta Region.
The core mandate of the GES is to give good quality education to all Ghanaian children of school-going age without any discrimination.
The visit to the Volta Region by the DG of the GES was a means to assess the implementation of the Education in Emergency Plan to ensure that all schools affected by the floods resume full-time teaching and learning activities within the shortest time possible.
All the respective Directors at the GES Headquarters, the Regional Director of Education (RDE), and the Municipal and District Directors of Education (MDDE) from the spillage-affected areas accompanied Dr. Nkansah.
The Directors from the GES Headquarters were the Acting Director of Administration, Ms. Justina Djabah, Director of girls’ Education, Ms. Gifty Asiedu, Director of Special Education, Ms. Helena Mensah, Director of partnerships and Affiliations, Mr. Frederick Birinkorang and Director of Planning, Mr. Alex Anning.
The others were the Director of Procurement, Mr. Adams Zuwii, the Director of Guidance and Counselling, Ms. Gifty Sekyi-Bremansu, and the Programme Officer of Early Childhood Development, Ms.Priscilla Awudzie-Walters.
Also accompanying the DG was the Volta Regional Director of Education, Mr. Francis Yao Agbenyadi, Special Assistant to the DG, Mr. Yaw Opoku Mensah, and the Volta Regional Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the GES, Mr. Forgive Yao Agoha.
Dr. Nkansah interacted with educational stakeholders at Battor, including the North Tongu District Chief Executive (DCE), Hon. Divine Osborne Fenu. They used the occasion to brief the DG and his team on efforts made by the Assembly and the Traditional Authorities to evacuate the flood victims from the school premises to allow full access by the learners.
He was grateful to the DG and his team for the visit and the emergency plans being rolled out to get education back on track again in the areas affected.
The GES Boss paid a courtesy call to the Traditional Rulers at Mepe and interacted with teachers and pupils of the Mepe Presby Basic School, where some flood victims are camping. Dr. Nkansah and his team also visited the St. Kizito Senior High School camp, where more than five hundred (500) disaster victims are being housed. He interacted with some teachers and learners who were having lessons under trees at the camp.
Manklalo of the Mepe Traditional Area, Togbe Korsi Nego IV thanked Dr. Nkansah and his team for the visit and appealed to him to use his good offices to improve educational outcomes in the area. According to him, the abysmal academic performance of learners at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) levels had been of major concern for the traditional authorities and other stakeholders before the flood disaster occurred, a situation he noted could worsen the already sad educational outcomes in the area.
Dr. Nkansah commended the Manklalo and the traditional authorities for their love for and interest in the educational development of their children and assured them that the GES would do everything possible to help address the situation. According to him, the fact that they have already identified the challenge themselves means that they are ready to play their part for the expected change to happen.
At Fievie Dugame in the South Tongu District, the DG met with the Traditional Council and also inspected the first phase of a completed twelve (12) unit classroom block facility in which the community has so far sunk some Two (2) Million Cedis.
According to the Paramount Stool Father of the area, Zikpuitor Awuku Doe Aklie, the project is being undertaken by the Fievie community as part of their contribution towards complementing the efforts of the GES. The school block has an ICT laboratory which can accommodate thirty-five (35) learners. The community has provided furniture for the classrooms in addition to the provision of a polytank for use in supplying water for use by the learners.
Zikpuitor Awuku Doe Aklie lauded Dr. Nkansah and his team for the tour and pledged their support as stakeholders to ensure that he succeeds in his responsibilities.
With the support of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and other development partners, Dr. Nkansah handed over three thousand (3,000) school uniforms, eight hundred (800) packs of teaching and learning materials, ten (10) boxes of school-in-a-box kits, thirty-six (36) packets of recreation kits, four (4) tents as well as thirty-two (32) Early Childhood Development kits.
Addressing the media at Mepe, the DG noted that even though most of the schools are being protected from the impact of the spillage, a number of the schools are also being used by households as safe havens, adding that plans are afoot to evacuate these victims based on the alternative arrangements being implemented by the various DCEs and the Volta Regional Minister to ensure that the households putting up in schools relocate for full academic work to resume. ‘We are working with all stakeholders to ensure that within the shortest possible time, we will evacuate the households and have the classrooms ready for teaching and learning to go on’, Dr. Nkansah intimated.
On the re-opening date for the over two thousand (2,000) students of the St. Kizito SHS at Mepe, Dr. Nkansah gave the assurance that this would be pretty soon as soon as the current five hundred and thirty-three (533) flood victims at the school are evacuated based on some of the fruitful alternative arrangements discussed with stakeholders of education in the area for implementation.
According to the GES Boss, beyond the current situation, plans are also advanced to roll out Radio and Television (TV) learning series for the affected learners to enable them to catch up with their colleagues in other districts and parts of the country. He explained that giant screens would be mounted at vantage areas where a structured timetable would be followed for the TV and Radio learning programmes. He called for support from the citizenry for the educational authorities to ensure that these initiatives and interventions are effectively and efficiently implemented to bring back educational life in the affected districts.
Dr. Nkansah reminded the MDDEs in the affected areas of the core mandate of the GES and charged them to liaise with other stakeholders of education in their respective municipalities and districts to ensure the successful implementation of the educational strategies and interventions being rolled out.